LEE COUNTY — In Lee County, and around the state, the numbers show that many students learning virtually are falling behind.
So the Governor is putting the burden on school districts to catch those students up through what are called educational interventions. Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran explained those interventions in a press conference earlier this week.
“We’re going to leave it to the districts. They’re going to submit by December 15th their plans. We’ll look at them, but in those plans we’re saying who are you, who are we talking about? What kind of interventions are you going to do? When are you going to do those interventions? Are you going to continue those interventions into the summer?” said Corcoran.
Lee County Schools said it hasn’t finished its plan yet, but the district said it will meet the deadline of December 15th. From what we heard during a board workshop back in October, there could be a lot of students in need of those interventions.
“Almost two thirds of our middle school kids, and over half of our high school kids, are receiving D’s, F’s, or have never logged in at all, and that’s a bit of a crisis," said Board Member Betsy Vaughn during the workshop on October 19th.
We spoke with Bethany Bauer, who has three kids in virtual school. She said it’s been tough on the family, and they’re looking to make a change.
“The one in Lee Virtual has decided at the end of this semester, he’s going to withdraw entirely and he’s going to resume homeschooling… and the younger ones, um, we might withdraw them as well and just do a little bit more laid back flex learning," said Bauer.
That type of flex-learning is something Cory Dye has been doing with his kids since the beginning of the school year. He’s in the process of suing the district over virtual learning, and said the statistics released in October didn’t surprise him.
“They still, in the lawsuit, claim that there’s no evidence that it doesn’t work, but we see now since this recent report, that it doesn’t work," said Dye.
Bauer said, her kids thankfully haven’t fallen behind, but she also doesn’t think the program makes sense long-term.
“I just don’t think it’s a healthy model, especially for young kids. You know, especially young children. They’re not hard-wired to sit for long periods like that and just be staring at the screen," said Bauer.
We also asked the district if it could tell us how many students are coming back to school in-person next semester, but we were told those numbers aren’t available yet.